Interoperability is often described as a characteristic of a product or system, whose interfaces are completely understood, to work with other products or systems, at present or in the future, in either implementation or access, without any restrictions. In this regard, any Service Provider looking to deploy products and solutions from potential vendors often undergo interoperability testing with potential vendors as a “proving-in” activity before signing off and giving the green light to deploy products and solutions for their end customers.
On a Service Provider’s path to any successful commercialized deployment often involves pre-planning and rigorous testing to ensure the viability of a vendors offering whether it be a greenfield or brownfield deployment. A close collaboration between a prospective customer and prospective vendor is often key when trying to prove-in any technology destined for commercial use, and when it comes to new leading edge technologies such as those intended for 5G network implementations, the story is no different.
A recent example of such a collaboration between a Service Provider and a prospective software solution vendor has been that of IPLOOK with Kaloom, respectively. In operation since 2012, IPLOOK Technologies Co., Ltd. (branded as IPLOOK) is an innovative enterprise, dedicated in the R&D of 3G/4G/5G Core, IMS and core network related products. As a leading provider of core networks with flexible development and customization capabilities and convergent core solution, IPLOOK mainly features in core network services for four types of customers: Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO), Wireless Internet Service Provider(WISP), small and medium-sized Mobile Network Operators(MNO) and Private Networks covering 30 countries or regions for more than 30 million people. In doing so, IPLOOK has accumulated many 3G/4G/5G commercial deployments in the field of wireless communication. With field-proven products deployed in China, South-East Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. IPLOOK is in constant pursuit of providing the best core network products and services to its global customer base and is committed to being at the forefront of technology and constructing a brighter future.
To establish itself as a premier Service Provider of 5G solutions, IPLOOK performed interoperability testing with Kaloom’s leading edge 5G User Plane Function (UPF), an embedded component of its containerized Cloud Edge Fabric software solution. The testing undertaken involved both IPLOOK and Kaloom setting up the required hardware and then deploying and configuring the system set-up via a remote connection. The testing involved the execution of a list of targeted test cases. As highlighted in the following figure the testing concentrated on Kaloom’s programmable multi Tbps UPF integrated into its fabric. The solution is proven to provide improved performance at a fraction of the cost when compared to expensive X86 based solutions while significantly lowering network latency from seconds down to milliseconds to meet the demands of latency sensitive applications such as IoT, AR and VR.
Testing the UPF functionality specifically involved running testcases whereby communication between IPLOOK’s 5G Core was established with Kaloom’s UPF. As shown in the figure below, the test setup involved a Spirent Landslide mobility test tool used to simulate the 5G RAN and the Data Network via the N3 and N6 interfaces respectively, while IPLOOK’s 5G Core interconnected with Kaloom’s UPF via the N4 interface.
By emulating 5G devices and network functions, test cases were executed remotely with the aim of ensuring that IPLOOK’s future mobile networks would be ready for successful 5G rollouts. The conclusion of the testing proved that Kaloom’s UPF can interoperate with IPLOOK’s 5G core network to provide end-to-end 5G service. The attestation of this interoperability was solidified with the issuing of a test report summarizing the testing which both IPLOOK and Kaloom signed. The confidence instilled by the successful results of the interoperability testing between both companies enables further engagements to be pursued. Above all, joint solutions that have undergone rigorous interoperability testing will ultimately benefit end user customers in their production deployments and deliver operational peace of mind.
Look out for our upcoming Blog on the general topic of Interoperability entitled "Can't we all just interoperate?"